Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Synopsis: Preceding the events of Scott’s Alien, this film certainly inhabits the same world, but in every other way is a very different film. It explores classic themes such as the origins of humanity, and examines the motivations that drive us to answer these questions. It is less a prequel than it is another stand-alone story in the same world, that does manage to answer some questions from the original film whilst raising many more of its own.
The great thing about the university semester being over is the opportunity to begin catching up on the films you desperately wanted to see earlier in the year that assessment schedules made impractical to do so. Prometheus was perhaps the most significant film in this category for me. I have long been a fan of the Alien franchise, and was really interested to see what new direction its original director had for it.
I am very aware reviews were mixed at the time of release. I had heard much disappointment that the film itself was not more of a direct prequel than it was. I also heard that it was a film that was trying too hard to be intelligent and as a result made very little sense, with gaping plot holes evident.
I personally disagree with these assessments. I was not disappointed that the film did very little to examine the classic xenomorph, instead very interested to learn more about who was the “Space Jockey”. Our explorers in this film are on an archaeological mission to learn more about the origins of our species, an investigation which takes them right to the Engineers, whom we later know better visualise in Alien as the Space Jockey. There is certainly room left at the end though for sequels such that the origins of the xenomorph may be more closely examined. As for the film being too intelligent for its own good, I myself found myself deeply enthralled in the plot and themes put before me. The film made me think afterwards, and what some called plot holes, I considered questions left open for the audience to make judgments themselves. For me, this takes some very assured judgments from Scott to pull this off successfully.
Getting to the more technical sides of the film, it is a film that is both beautifully shot and acted. Clearly, the special effects are amazing, and even the starkest of wastelands is shot such that it has a certain beauty. The performances, in addition, cannot be faulted. In particular mention should be made of the always brilliant Fassbender. He follows the paths of Holm and Henriksen before him in creating a believable machine, that at times is a more compelling character than his biological counterparts. When required to show great stress, Rapace is brilliant, showing why she was cast. She is a bit of a wallflower type at the beginning of the film, but this was perhaps a conscious decision to see how she evolves over the course of the film. Theron also gives a stellar performance, as she always does when given the right material.
I am firmly in the camp that this was a fantastic film. I have pondered it often after watching it, and still am at this point. How can anyone give a film that has that level of longevity in one’s mind anything but a glowing review.
5 stars out of 5